The green economy is poised to create an immense amount of prosperity—but will everyone benefit?

November 19, 2021, 10:13 PM UTC
Offshore wind turbines at the Teesside wind farm near Redcar in Teesside, U.K, on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The U.K. economy expanded the most on record in the third quarter, a rebound that still leaves Britain's recovery trailing behind the world's major industrialized nations.
Ian Forsyth—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Earlier this month, nearly 200 nations reached an agreement at the COP26 climate summit in Scotland. That deal, named the Glasgow Climate Pact, lays the framework for preventing temperature rises of more than 1.5°C while also expanding plans to grow the green economy. This comes as Wall Street is increasingly bullish that green sectors are about to explode. Look no further than Tesla’s sky-high $1.1 trillion market capitalization (more than six times the combined values of GM and Ford).

But just how much opportunity will this green push create—and who will benefit?

To find out, Fortune reached out to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where a team of experts (Zineb Sqalli and Nour Mejri) recently studied the green economy through a gender equity lens.

Here’s what the BCG team found.

The numbers to know 

$100 trillion to $150 trillion

  • … estimated global “green” investments between now and 2050.

67 million

  • … the number of new jobs the green economy will create by 2030, according to the BCG analysis.


  • … the percentage of green economy jobs in 2030 that’ll be held by women. (It’s currently 29%). 

15 to 20 years

  • … How long the current global “climate action strategies” will further delay gender equity.

Big picture

  • The green economy is poised to create an immense amount of opportunity and prosperity—but unless action is taken, women could miss out on a lot of it.  By 2030, around 75% of green jobs will be held by men. (To see what actions the BCG experts think should be taken, go here). 

A few deeper takeaways

1. STEM has a problem.

Across the globe women currently hold 29% of the more than 88 million green jobs. By 2030, that figure is actually expected to fall to 25%, BCG estimates, even as the total number of green jobs climbs to 155 million.

What’s going on? The technical and engineering jobs that are expected to see the most growth are still very male-dominated. Simply put: STEM fields aren’t making nearly enough progress on the gender front. Additionally, the green explosion will also require many mid-careers workers to get re-skilled—something that is particularly challenging for working mothers.

The BCG team write: “Factoring in the impact on women’s participation in green jobs and re-skilling, we project that women’s labor force participation globally will probably decline and wage inequality will increase as women are relegated to lower-skilled jobs.”

2. Women missing out on the green economy is bad for everyone. 

If the gender gap in the green economy were to be closed, the BCG analysis estimates it’d increase the overall size of the green economy and up global annual GDP by roughly $1.5 trillion.

The reasons are a bit wonky. But one reason is because, they say, more women in green sectors would translate into more small business formation and innovations. The BCG team write “that bolstering female entrepreneurs in green tech would add $500 billion to $600 billion to global GDP annually by 2030.”

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Lance Lambert

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